Every Wednesday, TriplePundit takes 30 minutes or so to chat with an interesting leader in the sustainable business movement. These chats are broadcast on our Google+ channel and embedded via YouTube right here on 3p.
David Gottfried is a catalyst for transformation. His work has impacted the global building industry more than almost any other, having founded both the U.S. Green Building Council and World Green Building Council, with GBCs in 100 countries.
Today, TriplePundit’s Founder and Publisher, Nick Aster, interviewed David Gottfried about the LEED accreditation program and the state of the global green building movement.
If you missed the conversation, you can watch it right here or on our YouTube channel.
Not that long ago worker rights were a given, labor unions were strong and powerful, as was the American middle class where a large part of the work and the need to enhance and protect workplace rights, benefits and progress was most in evidence.
Driven by globalization, supply chains are rapidly evolving across every industry sector, and the vendors in those supply chains are often a moving target as multinational corporations search for the lowest cost suppliers. Another unfortunate result of globalization is a race to the bottom by resource-poor, developing nations that are eager to secure sourcing contracts from wealthier countries. Concerns also center on how labor standards can best be monitored and enforced throughout these evolving organizational structures.
Fishermen at Norpac Fisheries Export tag their catch using the company’s barcode tracking system.
Back in 2002, Thomas Kraft, managing director of Norpac Fisheries Export, came up with the idea to electronically track each fish the company captures and sells. Soon after Norpac’s electronic monitoring system was up and running two years later, Kraft realized that the technology was not only an effective management tool, but it could also help the company trace fish through the supply chain and guarantee its products were not caught using illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices.
In fact, the nonprofit Future of Fish identifies tracing fish through the supply chain as one of the best ways to curb overfishing – one of the greatest threats to our oceans, where 85 percent of global fish stocks are fully or over-exploited, according to the organization. And now companies like Norpac are turning to technology to make fish traceability more efficient and accurate.
A record number of companies based outside the U.S., including H&M, Marks & Spencer, L’OREAL and 35 others from 21 countries and five continents, have made Ethisphere’s 2014 World’s Most Ethical Companies list released late last month.
The list honors a total of 144 organizations representing 41 industries such as automotive, apparel, consumer products and electronics, among others.
Other companies named to the list include GE, Microsoft, eBay, Mattel, Visa, Pepsi, International Paper, Johnson Controls, 3M, Marriott, Safeway and UPS. Notably, Starbucks and Gap, Inc. made the list for the eighth consecutive year.
Ethisphere says the “The World’s Most Ethical Company” designation recognizes companies that go beyond making statements about doing business ethically and translate those words into action. These companies not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, but also embed the theory of “conscious capitalism” into everything they do, every employee they hire and every partner they bring into their network to ensure they deliver long-term value to key stakeholders including customers, suppliers, regulators and investors.
Recently the University of Washington Milgard School of Business Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility convened a summit for thought leaders in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability leadership to discuss the role of “and” and “why” in CSR and how these two important concepts intersect. The conversations were invigorating, varied and challenged organizations to create positive change. The themes that emerged from the day were two simple but profound, short words; one a conjunction and the other an adverb.
The conjunction “AND” emerged strongly in all of the talks. Joe Whinney of Theo Chocolate spoke of a new kind of company focused on profits and making a difference in cocoa growing regions of the world by paying fair wages to farmers. Peggy Willett from Getty Images spoke about protecting intellectual rights and creating a new system (announced that day) that allows individual non-commercial users to embed Getty images without risk of stealing photographers’ rights. Jackie Drumheller of Alaska Airlines talked in detail about how the airline is working hard to make its fleet the most fuel efficient fleet it can, minimizing costs for the company and helping the environment.
The tired old argument that business can either make a profit or be socially responsible and sustainable just doesn’t resonate within the context of a multi-stakeholder view of enterprise. In the words of former REI CEO and current Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell: “Companies that fail to do this are really putting their overall businesses at risk, because it is not going to be too long from now that doing ‘less bad’ isn’t going to be good enough in the minds of our customers, employees and regulators. They expect us to do ‘more good’ with our business.”
For a time in 2011, an enormous, 327.58-gallon smoothie, flavored with maple syrup and apples from local Vermont farms and mixed with about 200 gallons of Greek-style yogurt from Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro, Vt. held the Guinness World Record for Largest Yogurt Smoothie.It’s still a point of pride for the farming community.
Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy holds another important distinction – it is cornerstone to a fast-growth, job-creating and sustainable food enterprise.
During my first semester in undergrad, a friend introduced me to the concept of thrifting for the very first time — and it was love at first sight. I walked into a store filled with vintage garments that lived unknown, unimaginable lives in the closets and social circles of women I’ve never met, but knew I’d get along with based on their fashion sense. Aisle upon aisle showered me with the opportunity to shop for vintage pieces and spoke to the old soul within me.
Have you ever thought about the stories the garments in your closet have to tell? Or the stories they will tell long after you’ve let them go? Which moments of your time together will stand out?
“One way to read the injunction for Right Conduct, an essential part of the Eightfold Path, is to see it as calling us—as citizens—to translate the dharma into specific acts of social responsibility.” – Buddhist author and professor, Charles Johnson, writing in the Tricycle magazine.
Mindfulness, corporations and “360-Degree Social Responsibility”
From a corporate standpoint, then, mindfulness could manifest either externally or internally. Corporate policies that are externally mindful (or “externally socially responsible”) would be those that concern how the corporation interacts with the outside world. The type of conduct typically associated with classic corporate social responsibility (CSR) endeavors, in other words. Does the corporation minimize its impact on the environment? Does it incorporate human rights into its day-to-day operations? Does it do diligence on its supply chain?
In 2011, the United States Power Wheelchair Soccer team won its second consecutive World Cup title, making them the only U.S. soccer team in history to win back-to-back World Cups. Despite this momentous achievement, the team has not yet been invited to the White House to be honored by President Barack Obama. I truly believe that it is time for the White House to take the initiative in celebrating the dedication and achievements of athletes of all abilities representing the U.S.A.
This April, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will visit the White House on their way to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The goal of this campaign is to seek an invitation for the U.S. Power Soccer Team to join the U.S. Men’s National Team in their visit. This is a unique opportunity for President Obama to honor both teams’ achievements together, on the world stage. Thus far, thechange.org campaign to make this happen has reached nearly 1,000 supporters, and word is being spread through all of the major social media channels.
Tech Networks of Boston (TNB), is a 47-person professional information services company. It delivers help desk, remote monitoring and maintenance, staff augmentation, onsite support, training and project IT services to nonprofits and businesses in the greater Boston area. TNB, founded in 1994, has incorporated the principles of sustainable business from its inception. The company has steadily expanded its sustainability initiatives enabling the firm to broaden the range of services it provides.
Susan Labandibar, founder, president and chief mission officer of Tech Networks Boston, converted her environmental activist career into an earth-steward, job creation role with the launch of TNB. At its inception, TNB saved computers from heading to the landfill by refurbishing them and giving them a second life. The company evolved to bringing energy efficient computers and servers to the market. The company’s Earth-PC and Earth-servers used 25 percent less energy than well-known commercial computing devices. At the time, energy efficient computing devices was a groundbreaking, novel idea that has since taken hold of the entire computer industry.
Spurred by a state government mandate and surprisingly attractive rates of return, interest in intelligent energy storage systems looks to be surging in California. Aiming to scale installations of its GreenStation demand management-smart battery storage system, Green Charge Networks (GCN) reports that California municipalities, including the cities of Lancaster and Redwood City, are joining national retail chains and industrial businesses in signing GCN Power Efficiency Agreements (PEAs) and deploying the solution.
California is at the leading, some would say bleeding, edge of developing a new energy infrastructure centered on a diversified mix of clean, renewable and distributed energy resources. Boosting energy efficiency figures to play a big role in reducing energy use and carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
Turning traditional energy economics on its head, companies such as GCN are taking advantage of technological innovation, government incentives and existing utility rate structures and finding ways of boosting energy efficiency by paying people and businesses to use less energy – so-called “negawatt” pricing – hence reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
Summer seems so far away, especially if you live in freezing New York like I do, but we’ll get there eventually, and when we do it’s always better be prepared with an air conditioner on your side.
The good news is that, as of this summer, you can have not just a regular AC, but one that “gets smarter over time, learning from users’ schedules, habits, location, weather information and past usage.” Welcome to the age of Aros!
Presented earlier this month, Aros, which is described as a “truly brilliant air conditioner” (I guess “smart” didn’t feel right in this case), is the result of an ongoing collaboration between General Electric and Quirky. What makes Aros interesting is not just the fact that it is the first “brilliant” AC and how it advances the vision of Internet of Things, but also what it means in terms of the relationships between the new collaborative, open economy and the more traditional one.
After a year, we asked you, our readers, how themes in Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” have affected you and what you thought about them. Here are your responses, and thanks for being part of the conversation.
The first part of the book talks a lot about how women should get by in a man’s world. “Should women play by the rules others created?…I understand the paradox of advising women to to change the world by adhering to biased rules and expectations.” Do women still have to get by in a man’s world, or are things changing? If so, how? If not, why not?
A woman (and a man) should always understand the rules and recognize that it really is a man’s world. Both genders, especially women, should challenge the expectations, rules and standards we all live by – even if they are small things – they will add up. - Jessica Robinson
It all rolls back to education. If we give girls encouragement, incentives and reasons to want to take the math, science, management and leadership courses, they will use this knowledge to assume leadership positions. - Sarah
Despite some early March rain in California, and a few storm systems moving in this week, the late season moisture will sadly fall far short of that which is needed to pull the state out of its four-year drought. Attention has consequently turned towards how California will ensure reliable water supplies in years ahead, should precipitation levels remain below average.
One source that will grow in importance is desalination, and it could end up being a pretty big business. Environmental Leader reported earlier this month that the components alone for desalination activity will constitute a $5 billion industry by 2015, and while this spend would not be confined to California, the report, conducted by the McIlvaine Co., describes the state as being at the epicenter of global desalination activity.
According to SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle’s online news outlet, 17 desalination plants are in the planning stages in the state of California, and of these, the largest one in Carlsbad, near San Diego, is two years away from completion. When the plant is switched on, it will be the biggest desalination facility in the Western Hemisphere, taking water from the Pacific Ocean and turning it into around 50 million gallons of potable water daily — serving 110,000 customers in San Diego County.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s impending carbon rules for existing power plants could achieve even greater reductions than previously thought — and at less cost, according to a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The rules are expected by many to be modeled after those promulgated by NRDC in December 2012, which would have EPA set carbon limits for each state based on its current fuel mix, and states and power companies would get maximum flexibility to meet the targets in the most cost-effective way, using steps such as improved energy efficiency — not just actions that can be taken at individual power plants.
NRDC’s new analysis shows that 470 to 700 million tons of carbon pollution can be eliminated per year in 2020 compared to 2012 levels, equivalent to the emissions from 95 to 130 million cars. By comparison, NRDC’s 2012 analysis put those numbers at 270 million tons.
At the same time, the plan would yield $28 billion to $63 billion in medical and environmental benefits that far outweigh the costs of putting first-ever limits on carbon pollution, NRDC says. More than 17,000 asthma attacks and more than 1,000 emergency room visits could be prevented each year, while also preventing thousands of premature deaths by 2020.
San Diego: Apr 24 – Apr 27 Social Venture Network Spring Conference SVN conferences convene and connect influential, innovative business leaders, impact investors and cultural entrepreneurs to create an experience where attendees can share the ideas and resources they need to succeed and grow. Register here.
New York: May 13 – May 14 Shared Value Leadership Summit For business leaders and problem solvers who see exciting market opportunities at the intersection of business goals and societal challenges, the Shared Value Initiative is the leading community shaping research, partnerships, and practices. Register here.
Southern California: May 19 – May 21 Fortune Brainstorm Green As the premier conference on business, sustainability, and green investing, Brainstorm GREEN delivers fresh thinking, actionable solutions, and unparalleled opportunities to build top-level relationships. Register here.
London: May 20 – May 22 2014 Global Sustainability Standards Conference Listen to progressive companies and governments and leaders from Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance, and other influential certifications discuss what brings the whole standards movement together: Trust. Register here.
San Diego: Jun 2 – Jun 5 Sustainable Brands 2014 Discover what happens when brand strategists & designers connect with sustainability teams to drive innovation. 20% discount with code NW3pSB14sd. Register here.
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